Jamaica Information Service – Persons will soon be able to access free secured Internet service in Sam Sharpe Square, Montego Bay, St. James.
This is expected to be in place in June when the Universal Service Fund (USF) establishes the platform facilitating the provision as part of a three-year $14-million project.
The engagement is being carried out under the Connect Jamaica Free Public Wi-Fi Project of the USF, an agency of the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology.
A USF team headed by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Daniel Dawes, along with Montego Bay Mayor and St. James Municipal Corporation Chairman, Councillor Homer Davis, and the council’s Superintendent of Road and Works, Bryce Grant, toured Sam Sharpe Square Wednesday (April 10) to explore potential sites for the wireless access point’s installation.
The USF’s Director of Projects, Kwan Wilson, told JIS News that the plan has been finalised for the undertaking, which is on track to be commissioned into service within two months.
He said the approximately $14 million to be spent over the next three years will cover installation costs and maintenance.
“The USF, as part of its mandate, provides Internet access across Jamaica. Montego Bay has not had a public Wi-Fi. We are now branching out to all areas of Jamaica, and Montego Bay is our first stop,” the Projects Director disclosed.
Mr. Wilson emphasised that access to Wi-Fi is a gateway to technology, adding that “it’s a gateway to information and it’s a gateway to enhance productivity”.
“So [providing] free public Wi-Fi to the residents of St. James and, in particular, Montego Bay will form a great part in enhancing the productivity of this city,” he further stated.
Mr. Wilson also advised of plans to establish an additional three free public Wi-Fi hotspots in eastern and central Jamaica during the 2019/20 financial year.
“So we are looking at either in Clarendon or on the eastern side [which would be] in St. Thomas or Portland,” he indicated.
For his part, Mayor Davis welcomed the initiative, which, he said, will facilitate greater Internet access to persons utilising Sam Sharpe Square.
“This is the age of technology and we have to bring technology very close to the people, [and] this is one way. So with Wi-Fi soon to be available in Sam Sharpe Square, it means a great deal to the people of this city. It is very timely, and I am anxiously awaiting the completion of this project,” he told JIS news.
Six public Wi-Fi hotspots have already been established in high-traffic areas in Kingston and St Andrew, Manchester, and St Elizabeth.
By Nicketia Sterling (Jamaica Information Service)
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